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ORAL HISTORY OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY 

INTERVIEW WITH VAN COURT HARE 

DECEMBER 10/ 1969 



BY CHARLES W. CRAWFORD 

ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE 

MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY 



HARE, VAN COURT 



MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY 
ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE 

I hereby release all right, title, or interest in and to all 
of my tape-recorded memoirs to the Mississippi Valley Archives of 
the John Willard Brister Library of Memphis State University and 
declare that they may be used without any restriction whatsoever 
and may be copyrighted and published by the said Archives, which 
also may assign said copyright and publication rights to serious 
research scholars. 



PLACE 



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DATE 



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(Interviewee) (An dcuJiJr N4&* 

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(For the Mississippi Valla? Archives 
of the John V/illard Brister Library 
of Memphis State University) 



(OHRO Form B) 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://archive.org/details/oralhistoryoftenOOhare 



THIS IS MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY ORAL HISTORY RESEARCH OFFICE PROJECT, 
AN ORAL HISTORY OF THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY. THE DATE IS 
DECEMBER 10, 1969. THE INTERVIEW IS WITH MR. VAN COURT HARE, FORMERLY 
WITH THE TENNESSEE VALLEY AUTHORITY. HE IS PRESENTLY LIVING IN KNOX- 
VILLE, TENNESSEE. THE INTERVIEWER IS DR. CHARLES W. CRAWFORD OF 
MEMPHIS STATE UNIVERSITY, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Mr. Hare, I suggest that we start by following whatever form you 
like, but at the beginning it might be well to get some information about 
your early life, your education, and your experience before joining TVA. 

MR. HARE: Doctor, I attended the University of Tennessee from December 1918, 
to June, 1920, and studied civil engineering. Then I transferred to Massa- 
chusetts Institute of Technology in October of 1920, and received a B. S. 
degree in June, 1923, majoring in structural design. Shall I go on? 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, sir. First, can you give us some information about your life 
before joining the University of Tennessee? You were born in 1900, I believe, 
in Memphis. 

MR. HARE: That's right. I was born in 1900 in Memphis, and attended the 

schools in Memphis. My family had been in Memphis for generations. I married 

Helen Bailey, whose family also lived in Memphis. After completing M. I. T., 
I returned to Memphis, and as an engineer in the offices of Mahan and Broad- 
well, Architects, I designed structures from June 1923 to March 1924, and 
detailed many buildings and other types of structures during that period. 
From March 1924 to May 1932, I was associated with Gardner and Howe, Struc- 
tural Engineers of Memphis, Tennessee and Dallas, Texas. 

DR. CRAWFORD: At which office did you work? 



MR. HARE: I worked in the Memphis office; although on occasion I would go to 
Dallas for a special assignment there. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you ever spend much time in Dallas? 

MR. HARE: Yes, because the firm there had a great amount of work in Texas at 

that time. This, of course, was in the affluent twenties. Texas was expanding 
the University of Texas, and Dallas was developing rapidly. So the office 
there was quite successful. 

However, the firm started in Memphis. Mr. Harry N. Howe, incidentally, 
a graduate of Cornell, was one of the most capable engineers that I have had 
the privilege of working with in my whole experience. His firm is still 
active in Memphis. It is being operated now by his son, Warner Howe, also a 
graduate of Cornell. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you do any hydraulic engineering in that time? 

MR. HARE: Well, I should have told you that at M. I. T., while I majored in 
structural design, I took three years to get the B. S. degree and took extra 
work, including an intensive course in hydraulics. I also had one in bridge 
design with some of the noted M. I. T. professors in that field. I worked 
on the water supply system in Memphis at one stage. I will tell you of this 
later in more detail. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What was the nature of the water supply then? Did it involve 
the use of wells? 

MR. HARE: Yes. Of course, most of Memphis' water comes from wells. They are 
very fortunate in Memphis. They have an artesian water supply. There are not 
many cities that have that. However, it was felt necessary then to treat that 
water, to aeriate it, and to filter and do other things, so that the expansion 
involved reservoirs and many other structures. I had a part in their design. 















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MR. HARE: From December 1930 to June 1931, arrangements having been made with 
(Cont'd.) 

Gardner and Howe, I was associated with Thomas H. Allen of Memphis and Fuller 

and McClintock of New York on this structural plan development of the major 

expansion of the Memphis water supply project. Responsibilities included 

the scheduling and production of structural plans for the reinforced concrete 

for the reservoirs, aeriators, filter plants, and pumping stations. It was 

essential to produce results with time as one of the controlling factors. 

That was, as you will note, 1930-1931, and the Great Depression was in full 

swing at that time. The financing of the expansion had taken place prior to 

the Depression. It was most difficult for Thomas H. Allen and Fuller and 

McClintock to complete this contract within the time provided for prior to the 

Depression. So, that time became of the essence as we strove to complete that 

contract and stay within the original estimates for the cost of engineering. 

I was engaged by the United States Corps of Engineers in October, 

1932, at Cairo, Illinois to plan and prepare designs for flood protection 
projects on the Mississippi River. This assignment was completed in March, 

1933. In charge of this work at Cairo was Mr. Albert S. Fry. I think you've 
interviewed him. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, sir. 

MR. HARE: Later in 1933, he started with the TVA as one of its earlier employ- 
ees. Again, from March, 1933 to June, 1933, engineering was handled by me as 
a private practice and included plans for commercial and industrial building 
projects. 

Prior to this period, due to the fact that the Depression was so 
severe, Gardner and Howe had temporarily suspended work. Several of us in that 
organization attempted to develop plans for building projects on our own. We 
were fairly successful in the Memphis area. 


















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MR. HARE: In June, 1933 ( and now I get to the bridge part) Mr. Frank Webster, 
(Cont'd.) 

Commissioner of Highways for the State of Tennessee, was in Memphis and offered 

me a position as a designer in the bridge department in Nashville. So, until 
January, 1934, I designed, detailed, and estimated bridge projects for the 
State of Tennessee. Soon after going with Mr. Webster in 1933, an offer was 
received from TVA. It was, I felt, impossible to accept at that time, as 
Mr. Webster had been very kind to have offered me employment in the midst of the 
Depression. I felt obligated to assist him for a reasonable period and re- 
quested TVA to keep me in mind for later consideration. In late December, 
1933, another offer was received from TVA, and was accepted with the under- 
standing that I was to report in January, 1934, to the Knoxville office. 

Now, Doctor, that pretty well sums up my experience prior to TVA. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Fine, sir. Let's get into your experience with TVA, then, whenever 
you're ready to. 

MR. HARE: In looking back over my experience with TVA, it seemed to fall 

within two periods. The first period being from January, 1934, to June, 1942. 
In January, '34, I was employed as an assistant hydraulic engineer, reporting 
directly to Mr. Albert Fry, at that time in charge of the administration of 
the Engineering Department. During this period I completed assignments 
covering wide ranges of engineering work, requiring both technical and admin- 
istrative ability. Included in these typical assignments were the structural 
design and supervision of construction of the TVA hydraulic laboratory at 
Norris, Tennessee. The planning and preparation of specifications covering 
the completion of an office building to accommodate personnel of the Engineering 
and Construction Departments. The design and estimates for a proposed materials 
testing laboratory and the writing and editing of various technical reports. 










































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MR. HARE: You may be interested in a description quoted from the records of 
(Cont'd.) 

that time regarding the duties and responsibilities involved in the position 

held in 1937. "Responsibilities for the planning, carrying out, and reporting 
upon the work of the special assignments and reports section of the Engineering 
Data Division, acts as assistant to the Division head, and in the latter's 
absence, is in charge of the Division; and is responsible for the preparation 
of a budget of the Division and for cost records of the Division." 

In June of 1941, as senior hydraulic engineer, I was responsible for 
investigation of floods and resulting damages, accurate estimates of which are 
essential in water control planning, and an economic consideration and justi- 
fication of flood control projects. An example, to illustrate the importance 
of this work, was the flood control investigations of the French Broad River 
in North Carolina. This involved a complete survey and report on flood damages 
throughout the basin. Included were damages to municipalities, industries, 
commercial establishments, railroads, highways, utilities, and agriculture and 
land. To secure the data required, the cooperation of many people was essential. 
Included were city officials, heads of industries, railroad and highway offi- 
cials, and the agricultural interests. Again, quoting from the personnel 
records of that time, "This position involved major responsibilities in handling 
important engineering work with a minimum supervisory direction from the division 
head. Also, it required contacts with the public and with important heads of 
enterprises, requiring ability to make such contacts successfully." Now, Doctor, 
I think that briefly sums up the first period of TVA. Unless you have some 
questions, I shall proceed to the second period. 
DR. CRAWFORD: Let's go ahead into the second period, Mr. Hare, and perhaps 
we'll talk about some details. 












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MR. HARE: Well, the second period, extended from 1942 to October, 1954. 

It was in June of 1942, at the request of Colonel Theodore B. Parker, that 
I reported to the Office of the Chief Engineer. Colonel Parker was Chief 
Engineer at that time, and my most important duty was the handling of special 
assignments for him. These assignments included the handling of the trips 
and reports of the Board of Consulting Engineers who periodically, at TVA's 
request, inspected and reported upon the design and construction progress of 
the major water control projects. 

This Board, selected by TVA management, was composed of some of the 
most outstanding consulting engineers and geologists in the United States. A 
number, in fact, were internationally known in their special fields. Mr. W. F. 
Uhl, President of Charles T. Main, Inc., of Boston served as the Chairman. 
Mr. John L. Savage, former Chief Engineer of the U. S. Bureau of Reclamation 
at the time of the construction of Hoover Dam, and internationally known for 
his ability as one of the country's most outstanding engineers, was also a 
member; as was Dr. Charles P. Berkey of New York, the Dean of American Geolo- 
gists. There were three geologists on the Board, including Dr. Berkey. 
Inasmuch as TVA was doing all of its own engineering and construction, and 
as work was subject to periodic review and criticism by the Congress and others, 
the TVA management's decision to have such a Board to review and to report on 
its work was very much in order. 

The Consulting Board's reports were then published in each project 
report and made available to the Congress and the public. Another example of 
special assignments were services as a Water Consultant to the Tennessee- 
Cumberland Committee in 1942. 










































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MR. HARE: The membership of this committee consisted of representatives of 
(Cont'd.) 

federal, state, and local agencies in the area concerned with the water 

resource development of the region. In addition to the special assignments 
for the Chief Engineer as a member of his staff, there was a responsibility 
for production of reports issued by the Engineering and Construction Divisions. 
This consisted of having the reports submitted, co-ordinating them between 
divisions, determining the correction of factual data, and with general res- 
ponsibility for the character and appropriateness of such report. Also 
included were responsibilities for initiating general reports in the office of 
the Chief Engineer, such as the annual reports covering the engineering and 
construction work of TVA. 

One of the most interesting responsibilities had to do with the 
foreign engineers who visited TVA. There were many of these engineers whose 
visits were arranged in accordance with the request of the U. S. Department of 
State. These engineers were sent by their respective governments to gain 
specialized engineering experience. Among these varied duties and respon- 
sibilities of this position was the scheduling of assignments for these en- 
gineers, to insure the efficient utilization of the time allotted them with 
TVA. Also, as a member of the staff of the Chief Engineer, there was a respon- 
sibility of explaining and discussing the program of engineering development 
in the Tennessee Valley with many distinguished visitors. Included were 
Senators and Congressmen, U. S. Government committees, the heads of foreign 
governments, technical missions composed of leading engineers from many countries 
of the world, and engineers from industry in this country and from abroad. 

Doctor, I think that that about gives a resume of the positions and 
some of the assignments to illustrate my responsibilities as a member of the 



MR. HARE: staff of the Chief Engineer. Next, if it seems in order, I should 
(Cont'd.) 

like to tell you of the special assignments carried out for TVA outside of 

the Tennessee Valley. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Fine. I'm very interested in that, Mr. Hare. 

MR. HARE: In 1946, TVA was requested to assist the United Nations by loaning 
two members of its staff to investigate sites for the headquarters of that 
organization. Mr. Howard Menhenick, a well-qualified city planner on TVA's 
staff, was selected as the Director of the Technical Staff to serve the 
headquarters committee of the United Nations. I was selected as his assistant, 
and to serve as an engineer member of that staff. The duties of that position 
included investigation of foundation conditions, water supply, sanitation, 
highway and railroad facilities, and the over all direction of the preparation 
of the report giving results of the Technical Staff's investigations and 
recommendations. 

This work involved investigation of numerous sites in the New York 
area. Fortunately, a member of TVA's Board of Consultants, Dr. Charles P. 
Berkey, was available to report on the geology and suitability of the sites 
as far as foundations were concerned. It is interesting to recall that the 
Russian member of the United Nations Committee questioned Dr. Berkey' s report 
in one instance. The Dean of American Geologists, who had for over half a 
century worked in the New York area, cleared the matter firmly and tactfully. 
There were no further questions regarding geology of the sites in that area. 

This work with the United Nations involved securing the cooperation 
and assistance of officials in private industry and federal, state, and local 
levels of government. For example, the cooperation of the Army Map Service 
was essential to the production of topographic maps of the various sites 



MR. HARE: investigated. To secure the railroad data it was necessary to 
(Cont'd.) 

schedule conferences and secure the cooperation of the New York Central Railroad. 

For data on utilities it was necessary to secure the cooperation of officials 

of the Consolidated Edison Company and the New York Board of Water Supply. 

Later, during the meeting of the General Assembly, we were delegated to assist 

in investigating and reporting upon prospective sites in the San Francisco 

area. Still later, in Boston and New York, we were responsible for special 

investigations and assisted in prepratation of data and reports used by the 

United Nations Headquarters Committee in making its final decision as to the 

site of the headquarters of the United Nations. 

In the spring of 1949, the United States House of Representatives 
Appropriations Committee requested TVA to loan an engineer to assist its 
staff in making a comprehensive survey of the Veterans* Hospital construction 
program. Accompanied by a legal staff member from the Justice Department, 
an inspection of projects located in all sections of the United States was 
made. An appraisal was made of both quality and progress of the work. 
Congress had appropriated over one billion dollars for this program. It was 
necessary to interview a member of all architectural, engineering, and con- 
struction firms responsible for the projects inspected and prepare a report 
for the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, giving the results of this 
survey. The Honorable Clarence Cannon was the Chairman of the House Appro- 
priations Committee, and we were appreciative of a letter he was kind enough 
to send TVA regarding the service rendered in connection with this survey. 

The latter part of 1949 was noteworthy in my experience with TVA. 
For Mr. Gordon R. Clapp, Chairman of the Board of Directors of TVA, was 
requested by President Truman to serve as the United States Representative 



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MR. HARE: and Chairman of the U. N. Economics Survey Commission to the Near East. 
(Cont'd.) 

The Deputy Chairmen of the mission were outstanding representatives of Great 

Britain, France, and Turkey. It was my privilege to accompany Mr. Clapp as a 
member of the Mission's Technical Staff. That staff was international in 
its membership and included bankers, financial men, engineers, agriculturalists, 
irrigation specialists, and economists. In carrying out this assignment, it 
was necessary to secure the cooperation of and to discuss with leading engineers 
of the countries of the tense Near East, projects essential to the economic 
development of the area. It was only by this means that it was possible 
for the staff of the mission to complete the field work, assemble the basic 
data on many varied projects, and to review and appraise these data with the 
limited time available. A report was then prepared defining an engineering 
program basic to the general economic development of that area, which included 
Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel. 

In 1951, the Director of the Defense Electric Power Administration 
requested the loan of a staff member of TVA. During the major part of that 
year, I served as a consultant for that organization, spending alternate 
weeks in the headquarters offices of both organizations. While with the 
Defense Electric Power Administration, the Korean War was at its peak. 
Materials were short, and it was necessary to schedule major equipment 
required for installation in both hydro and steam electric generating plants 
located throughout the United States. Of interest was the fact that the staff 
of this administration was composed largely of officials and top-level employ- 
ees of the major utilities of the country. The Director was from Consolidated 
Edison of New York. I put that in to show that TVA was, and is, respected 
over the country in the development of power and other resources. 



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MR. HARE: From November, 1952, to May, 1954, I served as a TVA representative 
(Cont'd.) 

for the study of the unified development of the water resources of the Jordan 

Valley. This study was undertaken by TVA, at the request of the United States 

Department of State for the United Nations. At that time TVA was extremely 

busy, and although the request originally came for TVA to carry out the study 

itself, TVA had to decline. However, the Department of State stressed the 

importance that TVA direct the study and suggested that TVA could contract 

with an engineering firm qualified to carry out such a study. This was done 

and a contract was made with the engineering firm of Charles T. Main, Inc., 

of Boston. The TVA representative was responsible for all contacts, the 

general administration of the agreements between the United Nations and TVA, 

and between TVA and Charles T. Main, Inc. 

Included also was the responsibility for the step-by-step review 
of all phases of the engineering development studies, arrangement of con- 
ferences to review progress, to discuss the various phases of the studies with 
the Department of State and the United Nations, and direct participation in 
developing the final report. 

I might tell you, Doctor, (and I'm sure that you are aware of this) 
that was a most delicate undertaking due to the tenseness that existed then, 
and still exists, in the Near East, and particularly in the area under 
consideration. 

In February, 1954, at the request of the U. S. Department of State, 
I was designated by TVA to travel again to the troubled areas of the Near 
East and serve as technical and engineering advisor to Eric A. Johnson, special 
representative of the President for resolving certain water problems affecting 
that area. The assignment required conferences with leading engineers 



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MR. HARE: in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan. These are all Arab countries, 
(Cont'd.) 

and the problem was to secure the approval of the Arabs to accept the terms 

of the report for the unified development of that area which indicated benefits 

to all countries concerned. These engineers had been selected by their 

respective governments to study the United Nations report on the Unified 

Development of the Jordan Valley, prepared under TVA's direction by Charles T. 

Main, Inc. of Boston. Conferences were held and field inspections were 

carried out with these Arab engineers, on all phases of the proposed development, 

Mr. C. E. Blee had succeeded Colonel Parker as Chief Engineer of 

TVA. He informed me early in the fall of 1954, that Charles T. Main, Inc., 

of Boston had the contract for the engineering development of the St. Lawrence 

River. That organization had telephoned him and had requested permission to 

contact me relative to joining them on the St. Lawrence project. So, in late 

September of that year, I left the Tennessee Valley for a new adventure. The 

experience gained through the varied assignments with TVA enabled me to assume 

with confidence responsibilites associated with the St. Lawrence and later the 

Niagara Power Projects. 

In closing this account of my experience with TVA, I do so with an 

expression of sincere appreciation to the many staff members who gave me the 

opportunity to carry out many interesting and varied assignments. 

Now, Doctor, that in brief sums up my experience with TVA. I shall 

be glad to try to answer any questions that you might have. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Fine. That's a well-organized summary, Mr. Hare. Let me ask a few 
questions as we go along about some of the things. 

MR. HARE: Could I interrupt just a moment? Something just occurred to me. As 
I told you, I have been away from TVA for fifteen years, and I have tried to 



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MR. HARE: summarize, in general, some of the assignments to indicate the privilege 
(Cont'd.) 

that I had of working with TVA. However, I just thought of an assignment that 

was most essential. It occurred in the early years of TVA. I think it was 1936. 

At the outset of TVA, Congress decreed that TVA study an accumulated 

wealth of data. You see, the Tennessee River had been studied by various 

organizations for many, many years prior to the creation of TVA. The Corps 

of Engineers, the U. S. Topographic Survey, and many others had studied and 

prepared reports on the Tennessee River. Congress instructed TVA to take two 

years and to study the accumulated data, and submit a report covering its 

recommendations for the unified development of the Tennessee River system. 

It was my privilege to be assigned to work with some of the top-level employees 

of TVA on that report. It was also my privilege to take that report to the 

TVA Office in Washington. That office granted me the privilege of taking it 

to the House of Representatives in 1936, I believe it was. 

Now, that report formed the basis for the development of the Tennessee 

Valley. That was the basic plan which has been followed by TVA through the 

years. Of course, it has been expanded as the occasion required — as the needs 

of the area required. 

DR. CRAWFORD: When did you first arrive in Knoxville for TVA work? What time in '34? 

MR. HARE: January, 1934. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you think of it as a permanent job at that time? Did you feel 
that TVA would be a lasting organization? 

MR. HARE: Oh, I felt so, because I knew the Tennessee River, even before I came 
to TVA, offered a great opportunity for engineering development. I had talked 
about that while with the Corps of Engineers on the Mississippi River. We all 
agreed that the Tennessee River was, as far as engineers were concerned, a real 
opportunity. I felt privileged at that time to have an offer to work with TVA. 






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DR. CRAWFORD: Why did you feel that the Tennessee Valley was such an engineering 
opportunity? 

MR. HARE; Because all of the elements were in the Tennessee Valley — the 

topography, the water supply, the condition of the land. It was really crying 
for development at that time. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you have an impression of the scope of the Tennessee Valley 
Authority? Did you realize that it would cover as large an area as it did 
when you first came in 1934? 

MR. HARE: Well, I felt that it would cover the watershed of the Tennessee 
River. It couldn't do otherwiseo It couldn't approach the prospect of 
development on a piece-meal basis. It had to be a whole. I realized that, 
yes. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you feel that the engineering staff was well-organized when 
you arrived? Was the work underway at that time? 

MR. HARE: Doctor, that is a very good question. I mentioned to you prior 
to our interview the fact that I had carried out work as a member of a 
private engineering firm recently, for another authority — the New York State 
Power Authority. Due to the shortage of this type of qualified talent, 
that Authority elected not to attempt to build up an organization TVA, 
created in the midst of the Depression, was able to secure the most qualified 
engineering taJent in the United States, and they did. That is, to me, 
one of the foundation stones of TVA. They secured their early employees 
very carefully, and were able to secure men from the major engineering 
firms from Boston, New York, San Francisco, any place in the country 
As I have indicated to you, the utilities over the country have realized 
that TVA had experienced engineers from the start. 
























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DR. CRAWFORD: Why was TVA able to assemble such an imposing group of engineers? 

MR. HARE: Due to this very fact that they were available due to the Depression. 
They came from all parts of the United States. 

Now, to answer your first question about the organization, it was 
necessary under those conditions to have what I would descrive as a shake- 
down period. As time went on I could see the organization develop. 

To illustrate, in the early days they had an organization for each 
project. Norris had a project staff. The next was Wheeler, and then the next 
project had a project staff. Colonel Parker came in, and realized that there 
was a long-development project ahead. Each project then was designed 
separately, equipment was purchased separately — spillway gates and other 
equipment. Colonel Parker decided in order to affect economy and efficiency, 
it should be handled on a specialized basis. In other words, the electrical 
engineers should design everything required in that field for every project. " 
The mechanical engineers should design everything in their field for every 
project, and the same way with the structural. He further instructed them to 
duplicate and standardize the design wherever possible. The spillway gates, 
for instance, were standardized. That effected real economy and efficiency. 
One of my assignments with the Chief Engineer, Colonel Parker, after that had 
been in effect for several years was that I would report on the change from 
the project to this pool system of design. I was requested to prepare, with 
the cooperation of the design department, a procedure and cost report of the 
engineering design by TVA. It was amazing for me to find out and to report 
on the economies brought about by that standardization and duplication of 
design. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Had that been done on any similar scale before, to your knowledge? 



16 



MR. HARE: Not to my knowledge. There had not been this opportunity on a long- 
term development, you see, for that. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you conclude that the saving was substantial? 

MR. HARE: Yes. There is a report on that. 

DR. CRAWFORD: It seems to me that you have had a very remarkable group of engineers 
in the early period. Was any person particularly active in recruiting them? 

MR. HARE: That I really can't answer. I was, of course, busy. I think that 
the TVA management recognized the importance of personnel administration at 
the outset, and they secured some very able people. For instance, Gordon 
Clapp was in Personnel before he became General Manager. I knew him very well. 
I had the privilege of traveling with him and being very close. He was a 
remarkable man. He was a man of superb intellect and integrity. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What was Gordon Clapp 's background before joining TVA? 

MR. HARE: Well, you can secure that in detail from others. I would suggest 
that you ask Marguerite Owen that question. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I will. Who recruited Colonel Parker? What was his previous 
experience? Had he been with the Corps of Engineers? 

MR. HARE: Colonel Parker was in the regular Army. He was a tough-minded, 

superb engineer and executive. At one time he had twelve major projects going 
with some 30,000 men under his direction. He came from Stone and Webster of 
Boston, one of the oldest engineering and construction firms in this country. 
They have done work all over the world. 

Colonel Parker was in charge of the work on the Columbia River — 
the Rock Island Project, for Stone and Webster. He had completed that and 
was with some government agency in Boston. Of course, like so many engineers 
and construction men, their attention in the depression years was directed 



17 



MR. HARE: to this area — the Tennessee Valley. It was an engineering challenge, 
(Cont'd.) 

and they wanted to be here. Who recruited him I don't know. I think probably 

that Mr. Lilienthal can tell you, because Mr. Lilienthal had a great respect 

for Colonel Parker. 

DR. CRAWFORD: How long did he remain with the Authority? He was replaced by 
Clarence Blee, I believe. 

MR. HARE: After the completion of the urgent work required by the war effort, 
after the completion of Douglas, which was designed and constructed in record 
time. I don't believe it's ever been equalled. From the start of construction 
to the first power in thirteen months. Remarkable. And that project was 
delayed by Congress. TVA couldn't start until the flood season was on so 
they had to cotterdam with the water at its highest level. In spite of all 
obstacles, the construction and engineering forces of TVA set a record on that 
project. 

That project was a combination of everything. It tested TVA to 
the hilt. After the completion of Douglas, Colonel Parker received an offer 
from M. I. T. from which he had graduated, to become the Head of the Civil 
Engineering Department. So he resigned, and I can't give you the date. It 
could have been in '44 — somewhere along there. He resigned to go to M. I. T. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know what he did after that? Do you know anything about his 
later career? 

MR. HARE: Well, unfortunately, Colonel Parker was a very intense man. He 
had given of himself unstintedly here. He was not well when he resigned, 
although I don't think he realized that. He did not get to enjoy his connection 
with M. I. T. very long. He passed away shortly after going up there. 







































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DR. CRAWFORD: Did you work under Mr. Blee for the remainder of your TVA service? 

MR. HARE: I worked under Mr. Blee and enjoyed my association with him. He 
was a very able individual. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you know why TVA was chosen or was called on to supply advice 
about the United Nations location? 

MR. HARE: Well, yes I do. The United Nations headquarters committee needed 
a technical staff. Now, on that United Nations committee there were well- 
qualified men. Most of them, of course, were diplomats, but there were a 
number of engineers. Certain countries insisted that they be represented 
on the technical staff. Russia, for instance. Holland and France, and 
a number of other countries felt the same way. They selected engineers to 
be members of that committee. But the headquarters was going to be in 
the United States. It was necessary to make these contacts that I have out- 
lined with the Federal, State, and local agencies and with many people. Of 
course, they realized (the U. N. delegation — the United Nations) that this 
was so and they had to have qualified, technical segments of that staff from 
the United States. And so the United States furnished the major working man- 
power on that technical staff. 

Now, why they came to the TVA. Here was a reservoir of engineering 
talent of all kinds. Howard Menhenick was one of the most versatile and 
well-qualified city planners I've ever known. So they secured him as Director, 
and it was a wise move. 

DR. CRAWFORD: TVA seems to have received many requests for technical assistance. 
Was it general policy to grant these and release TVA personnel to take part? 

MR. HARE: Yes, I think basically it was realized that here was a reservoir of 
experience that could be used. Here also, it was realized, was integrity. 



19 



DR. CRAWFORD: Were you generally pleased with TVA's relations with other agencies? 
Were they generally cooperative? 

MR. HARE: Oh, yes, yes. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What did you do to retain your contacts with the engineering community? 
Did you continue to belong to engineering associations? 

MR. HARE: Now, you mean? At the present time? 

DR. CRAWFORD: No, sir. While with TVA. 

MR. HARE: Oh, yes. Sure, I have maintained all of the contacts and all of 

the memberships. As a matter of fact, TVA encouraged that. TVA engineers and 
the staff in all branches have been active in organizations. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Was that a general policy of the engineers? 

MR. HARE: Well, not only of the engineers, but of TVA's management in general. 
They encouraged it, and the type of personnel that TVA had would naturally 
gravitate to civic and other leaderships. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did the working relationship between architects and engineers seem 
to be satisfactory generally? 

MR. HARE: Within TVA? 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes. 

MR. HARE: Yes, of course. Having worked with both architects and engineers 

for many, many years, there is always this give and take. I remember that one 
of the really great contributions that was made, I feel, to TVA was made by 
Roland Wank, a TVA architect. In his designs and color selections, he did 
this. But the engineers used to find, so they said, although, I believe that 
they admired Mr. Wank's work greatly, but at the time they said that some of 
his designs were hard to take. He was, in my mind, in advance of his time, 
architecturally speaking. TVA, because of his contribution and Mr. Tour's, 
and the other architects that followed in the same line, is well-known in the 
field of architecture. 



. 






20 



DR. CRAWFORD: Many of the early employees were either engineers or lawyers. Did 
the two groups work together well, or did their work over-lap in any way? 

MR. HARE: Oh, no. They worked together well. All of the lawyers that I have 
known have assisted and have been quite willing to assist. TVA's engineering 
staff is the same way. It has been a very smooth operation. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Do you feel that there has generally been a high degree of morale? 

MR. HARE: Exceptionally so. I, having been in other organizations, realize 
this. Of course, TVA had an exceptional opportunity, and I want to make that 
point clear. It would be most difficult to create an organization of similar 
ability at this time. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Obviously, being at the bottom of the Depression had something to do 
with it, but the financial attraction was not the whole thing. Salaries were 
not particularly high. 

MR. HARE: That's quite true. The challenge was here. And a great many of 

my friends came from New York and Boston to work with TVA. They had opportu- 
nities in later years to go back to their original positions after the depression, 
and they refused to go back. They remained with TVA. And further, when they 
retired, they have remained here. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What sort of record did you have for keeping the personnel that you 
wanted to? 

MR. HARE: Well, again, I think that someone else could better answer that 
than I. However, it is my feeling that the TVA had an exceptional record 
of holding the interest of its employees. Very few left. I know many engineers 
who had offers to leave that have remained here simply because of the program, 
and the chellenge and the environment in which they worked and lived. I 
had a telephone call from Boston the other day requesting that I give them 
























-, 













































21 



MR. HARE: some help in securing two men, and what would be, normally, a fancy 
(Cont'd.) 

salary, was associated with each position. I said, "Where would they report 

and where would they work?" They would report to an office in New York City 

and be required to live and work in that city. My reply was that they would 

not get TVA men unless they had more incentive for them to leave. So, I 

have made no effort to contact TVA. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Then you feel that TVA has the respect of private businesses involved 
in engineering work? 

MR. HARE: I know that. I have dealt with private businesses for the past 
15 years. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What change did World War II bring to your engineering work? 

MR. HARE: Well, no change except to accelerate the whole program. The organi- 
zation had been affected, as I indicated by the pool organization, and it 
really paid dividends. TVA accomplished in my mind, noteworthy achievements 
during that period. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you have the staff to handle this additional load of work when 
the War started? 

MR. HARE: No, it was difficult to secure the staff, but TVA's staff buckled down 
and worked over-time. They worked in shifts, and they didn't object to it. 
It was far more efficient to handle it that way than to get in new people 
and break them in. Time was so important that TVA just couldn't do that. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did the development of Oak Ridge bring any particular change in your 
work? 

MR. HARE: Do you mean during the war? 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, sir. 



22 



MR. HARE: Yes, of course, additional power capacity was required for Oak Ridge, 
and that meant completion of certain projects within a very limited time, so 
that again, Oak Ridge had the tendency to accelerate a program that already had 
been accelerated, 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you have any idea what they were doing at Oak Ridge before it 
was generally known? 

MR. HARE: No, I didn't. I might tell you this. It was my privilege to be in 
Colonel Parker's office — just the two of us — when a telephone call came from 
the Manhattan District's General Groves requesting Colonel Parker to loan 
the Corps of Engineers several cars to make a reconnaisance trip northwest of 
Knoxville. Colonel Parker indicated that, of course, the cars would be 
available and drivers also. He was told that they didn't want drivers. 
Colonel Parker then said, "Well, we'll have one man whoknows the whole area that 
you might be interested in." (They had told him in general the area.) 
"And this one man will have topographic maps with him. He's familiar with 
the whole area, and I personally will instruct him that whenever you confer 
in the field, to remove himself." Colonel Parker selected Mr. W. R. Chambers, 
a man with great discretion, a mature man with good judgment. He went with 
them on this first field trip. It also turned out that Mr. Chambers was 
the first employee of Oak Ridge, Manhattan District, from this area. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Did you find your work changing in any way when the development of 
steam plants started? 

MR. HARE: That's a good question. The first steam plant designed and con- 
structed by TVA was Watts Bar. It was to have relatively small, 60,000 
kilowatt units. That was during the time of Colonel Parker, and with hydro 
construction going in full force, he thought it would be wise to secure some 



23 



MR. HARE: specialists in thermal plant design. So he contracted with Charles T. 
Main, Inc., of Boston whose President, Mr. Uhl, was Chairman of the TVA Board 
of Consultants, to assist with the design of that thermal plant. They sent men 
from Boston who worked in Knoxville really as a part of TVA's organization in the 
design of that plant. 

As time went on, TVA's personnel became quite competent in that field. 
During the succeeding years, some of the most advanced designs in that field 
have come from TVA. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Was there any planning in TVA for a nuclear plant at the time you left? 

MR. HARE: No, there was none. That has come since I left. 

DR. CRAWFORD: When was this Board of Consultants developed, and whose idea was 
that, Mr. Hare? 

MR. HARE: I wish I could answer that question. I would ask Mr. Lilienthal that 
question. It's a very important question. In my mind, that was a decision of 
TVA management that has paid great dividends. You see, TVA has done its own 
construction, and it is remarkable to me that they haven't been attacked more 
by the private construction industries — the major construction organizations. 
At one time there were two of us attending a hearing in Washington in the 
S e nate, and the late Senator Overton from Louisiana, was the Chairman. He was 
a very tough-minded man. They were holding a hearing on proposed authorities 
for other areas of the country. 

There was a delegation there from the Associated General Contractors. 
To our surpise, they got up one morning and attacked TVA on its cost-keeping 
of construction by saying that TVA didn't know what the construction costs were, 
and the costs were not available to the public and so forth. We were amazed 
tha they were so uninformed. We went to the TVA office, secured a copy of the 



24 



MR. HARE: Guntersville Project report, and submitted that report as evidence 
(Cont'd.) 

that TVA did keep costs; that the costs were, in fact, low and reasonable; 

and that the costs were available to Congress and to the public. You know, 

there has been since then little criticism, it seems to me, that has stemmed 

from the fact that TVA does its own work in construction. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Why do you suppose there has been so little criticism? 

MR. HARE: Well, I don't know. I think, again, that the ability and integrity 
of the TVA organization is recognized in all corners. My work during the past 
15 years has required my dealing with private contractors — very large contractors. 
They are the largest in this country with contracts for power plants. Just the 
power plants each cost about one hundred million dollars. In dealing with 
those contractors it was know that I was from TVA and other staff members with 
me were from TVA. It didn't hurt us at all, because their claims for extras 
were all settled for those major projects without law suits. Just by sitting 
across the table and negotiating, the contractors realized that we were going 
to treat them fairly, but that we knew what the score was. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Was your work changed in any way in the re-organization of TVA in 
1948? 

MR. HARE: The re-organization of TVA in 1948? 

DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, sir, the administrative changes that year. Did that not affect 
the engineering part? 

MR. HARE: Well, I don't believe I know just what changes specifically you are 
talking about. 

DR. CRAWFORD: I believe that some of the departments were changed under the Board. 
I think a larger number were arranged to report directly to the Board. 



25 



MR. HARE: Well, it didn't seem to affect the engineering organization, in my 
opinion. 1948, I don't even remember. We were busy, and I don't remember 
any change. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Was your work affected directly by Congressional appropriations? 
Did you have much irregularity from year to year in the scale of yur work? 

MR. HARE: Not too much during the period I was here. You see, I left in '54. 
Of course, there were variations. There had to be, and you would expect that, 
but I don't think anything serious. 

DR. CRAWFORD: Were you generally able to keep projects moving along at the speed 
at which you wished? 

MR. HARE: Yes. TVA public relations have been superb. They inform the people. 
People want to know what is going to change their environment. TVA has had 
a legal staff, a public relations office, the engineers that participated, and 
all branches including agriculture people, and they have informed the public. 
I just mentioned that because it shows the value of a well-rounded organiza- 
tion. The engineers can do the technical part, but there are many other 
facets to TVA in addition to engineering. The only way to accomplish an over- 
all program and keep the projects moving ahead is by unifying that effort. 

DR. CRAWFORD: What did you consider the major work of TVA in the early period? 

Mr. Hare? Did you think of it as production of power, flood control, navigation? 

MR. HARE: Well, of course, as an engineer, my attention was focused on structures- 
water control structures. And that was needed. I knew and appreciated the 
need for the agricultural program. It was evident, that as you traveled 
around you could see the erosion and the fact that fertility had been washed 
away. The low income of the inhabitants of the area was because their income 
was derived largely from the land. So, I appreciated other things, but my 
attention was focused on water-control structures, I must confess. 



26 



DR. CRAWFORD: Do you feel that part of TVA has been a success? 

MR. HARE: Oh, I think the whole part of TVA has been a success. I don't 

single that out. I think that the entire program has been successful, don't 

you? 
DR. CRAWFORD: Yes, sir, I do. And thank you very much for the information, 

Mr. Hare. 



HECKMAN }M 
BINDERV INC l B l 

a AUG 88 

4gt N.MANCHESTER.